Are your emails about as popular as a warm beer on a hot summer’s day? Is your response rate so low it might as well dip to negatives?
It happens. Anyone who sends out cold emails knows the feeling of pulling up your email marketing dashboard with hopeful eyes only for your analytics to practically scoff at you. Sometimes it’s not even entirely clear why your emails are doing so badly. But let’s face it, people get bombarded with dozens of emails every single day, why should they stop and open yours?
If you’re here, then clearly your emails aren’t standing out enough to stop them from scrolling and click on them. The good news is this is an easy problem to fix. All you need is a few strategic tweaks here and there to get the response rate you deserve. You’re about to read six simple tips you can start using right away to drastically improve your outreach emails so they’re never left unopened again.
1. Shorten your subject line to 50 characters or less
According to Forbes, subject lines that are longer than 50 characters show lower open rates. Sounds restrictive, but it makes sense considering most people are on mobile and long headlines will simply be cut off. Not to mention that people with 200+ emails in their inbox will simply scan down the list rather than read every subject line in its entirety. So keep your subject lines short and sweet to make sure yours gets read.
However, length is no turn-key solution either. Everything from capitalisation to punctuation has a say in whether your outreach email gets ignored or not. Here are a few quick tips:
- Pay attention to your grammar. One typo can undermine your credibility
- Use punctuation marks and emojis in moderation (or not at all)
- DON’T USE ALL CAPS. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING AND NO ONE LIKES IT.
2. Make your subject line as specific as possible
Most of us have received emails where the subject line is something annoyingly vague like, ‘Question!’ or maybe even just ‘Hi’, followed by a string of emojis. If the email isn’t from someone you know, they’re usually sent straight to spam.
The truth is nobody likes to open things they’re not entirely sure about. You’ll have a lot more luck getting your email opened if the subject line tells people exactly what to expect when they open it. Here’s an example: which of the two subject lines would you rather open?
- Discover the AMAZING web solution you’ve always dreamed about!!
- Here’s why your website isn’t getting traffic (and how to fix it)
See how the second one gave you a clear idea of what the email actually contains? Not only does it pinpoint a specific problem (‘website isn’t getting traffic’) but it also tells you what you’ll get out of it (‘how to fix it’).
3. A little personalisation goes a long way
Yes, email templates are time-savers, but they rarely drive sales and increase your response rate. Research shows that personalized emails improve CTR by an average of 14% and increase conversions on average by 10%.
Doing the bare minimum of including their name in the email doesn’t make it ‘personalised’. Take 5-10 mins to do some light research, find something you like about them then tell them about it in your opening line. It could be something noticeable on their Twitter feed, their website, or a mention of a person you both have in common.
The key here is to make it sound sincere. People have really good lie detectors, even over email. Take a look at these two opening lines:
I love your work and I think we have a lot in common.’
I was reading through your blog and your post about the lack of personalised outreach emails really resonated with me.’
Guess which one shows that the marketer is actually paying attention and not just blasting out generic emails? You got it. Now do the same with your own outreach emails and watch the spike in responses.
4. Write like a friend, not a salesperson
A major mistake many marketers make when sending out cold emails is they try to sell from the get-go. Doing this is an excellent way of getting yourself dismissed as ‘just another salesperson’.
Think of your email as meeting someone in person for the very first time. You wouldn’t run up to them and belt out, ‘ENJOY A FREE TRIAL OF OUR PRODUCT FOR 7 DAYS!’ No. You’d warmly introduce yourself, ask them about themselves and tell them something about yourself in return, maybe take some time to find some common ground and then work your way up to your offer.
Read the next tip to find out how to pull this off in your outreach emails.
5. Give them something valuable – for free
Rule of thumb: Never ask for something until you’ve provided value first.
Email campaigns are all about building trust, but you won’t get it if you’re constantly trying to dig into their wallet. If you send out five emails, the first two or three should be ‘trust-building’ emails, not salesy ones.
A good way to do this is to offer them something new and valuable. It could be advice on something you think they could improve (and actually give them a sneak peek on how to improve it) or just a friendly heads up on the latest trend in the industry that might interest them. The idea here is to show them that you’re here to help. Once you help them, they’ll be more open to helping you.
6. Target the right people
If you’re sending outreach emails to half the population, you’re either using a generic template that’s getting ignored or simply wasting your targeting efforts on the wrong people.
When prepping to research and personalise your emails to increase your chances of success, you’ll first want to make sure you’re chasing after the right audience. If you’re not sure, stop sending emails and create an ideal customer profile before you go any further.
Once you have a solid customer profile you’ll be able to pinpoint who is worth contacting and who isn’t. You can also plug your findings into an automated sales prospect tool (like Triggr, which is pretty affordable and offers a discount for startups) to generate a list of potential customers complete with their social media profiles and contact details. Can’t get any easier than that.
The bottom line is to always go the extra mile before sending out outreach emails. A few more minutes of research now can result in handsome profits later, so keep these new cards up your sleeve and watch your response rate soar.